The International Youth Forum is held every three years, and so, from 24 to 28 March 2010 (leading up to Palm Sunday), the Pontifical Council for the Laity will invite around three hundred young people, delegates from bishops’ conferences and major international movements and associations to come together for this purpose. Our last two Forums dealt with the themes: “Witnessing to Christ in the university world” (2004) and “Witnessing to Christ in the world of work” (2007). The next Forum will have the theme: “Learning to love”. There will be lectures, panel discussions, testimonies and working groups, and these will study how young people can respond to the Christian vocation to love in our times, a period when there is a crisis in marriage and the family, great inadequacies in education, and moral relativism. We shall dwell on the beauty of God’s love, on the Christian vision of sexuality, on preparation for Christian marriage and on the sacrament of matrimony. As there are different ways of witnessing to Christ’s love, there will also be testimonies on various vocations in the Church: religious life, priesthood, and social and political engagement.
As well as studying the theme, the Forum also provides an opportunity for participants from all over the world to have concrete experience of the ecclesial dimension. They also have a spiritual experience of prayer, of celebration of the sacraments and of pilgrimage in Rome in the footsteps of the saints. Then, when they return, the young people can give witness with conviction to their peers of all the beauty of the vocation to love.